I WAS RECENTLY TRYING TO GET UP AN ICY HILL WITH...
2002 Ford Focus
March, 7, 2013 AT 8:40 PM
I was recently trying to get up an icy hill with my 2002 Ford Focus wagon automatic; so the wheels were spinning at times. I kept an eye on the tachometer to make sure that it didn't rev too high; however the arrow did briefly almost get up to 5 on the dial of which 7 is the highest. Could I have damaged my engine? The car has only 50,000 original miles.
Doubtful. Spinning excessively on ice will tear up the tires but a little slipping is normal.
The most common thing to happen on older engines when they were revved too high was the hydraulic lifters would pump up with too much oil and hold some of the valves open. The engine can not run well enough to stay running like that for very long so there is no further increase in engine speed. When it slows down, those over-pumped lifters would take as much as 15 to 20 seconds to slowly bleed down and let the valves close fully. That caused a misfire and rough running for those few seconds, but no permanent damage. Most newer engines don't use lifters that move up and down rapidly. They use lash adjusters that are stationary and do not over-fill with oil.